Even if you’re not much of a tech enthusiast, it will not be news to you that the Windows Phone has failed. What would probably be news to some is that Windows Phone did exist. That, however, does not mean Microsoft has given up on Mobile. The software giant has decided it does not need its own OS to sell its software and services. There already exist two really great mobile operating systems that Microsoft makes apps for. Redmond’s new strategy now is to get these two mobile platforms to work better with Windows 10 and it’s quite clever. Taking a step in that direction, Microsoft is launching its Edge browser on iOS and Android. That along with a new Android launcher.
Well, it is not entirely a new launcher but sort of an upgrade to the existing Arrow Launcher. The two new apps will help expand the company’s presence on operating system platforms outside the Windows ecosystem.
“Microsoft Edge for iOS and Android brings familiar features like your Favorites, Reading List, New Tab Page, and Reading View across your PC and phone, so, no matter the device, your browsing goes with you. But what makes Microsoft Edge really stand out is the ability to continue on your PC, which enables you to immediately open the page you’re looking at right on your PC—or save it to work on later.” Joe Belfiore, Microsoft Windows, and Devices Corporate VP, wrote in a blog post.
It is interesting because currently if your PC is on the latest Windows 10 Insider Preview build, you can “Continue on PC” with Google Chrome or any other browser on your mobile device. On your PC, although the link still opens in the Edge browse. Knowing Microsoft, it is possible that the company will make using Edge on your phone mandatory if you want to ever “Continue on PC”.
Edge will only support Android and iOS smartphones for the time being, not tablets. Also, it is not a complete browser on neither platforms. Like Chrome for iOS, Edge for iOS too is just a wrapper over Safari using WebKit. On the Android side, Edge is simply a wrapper over Chromium.
Microsoft Launcher is simply a re-imagining of Microsoft’s previous Android launcher called Arrow Launcher. It will let you put icons of your favorite people on your home screen. This is similar to how you can pin your favorite contacts on the Windows 10 taskbar. The biggest USP for Redmond’s Android launcher is once again, “Continue on PC”. It will let you “seamlessly continue what you’re working on—whether it’s photos, documents and more—on your PC.”
The launcher also includes “The Feed”, a Google Now – esque panel on the very left that presents things like top news, activities, upcoming events, and more information for users.
It is quite clear what Microsoft’s approach here is. Sure the company does not play in the mobile OS space anymore. But it still needs a presence in some form, for the future is mobile. Most Android users and a plenty of iOS users use Windows on their desktops so it only makes sense to use that to an advantage.
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How to install
Anyone out there interested in these new Microsoft apps can’t simply go to the respective app stores and install the apps right away. Both the apps are in beta right now and not officially available. But if you’re fine with a few bugs here and there, you can get your hands on the early beta builds.
The process is quite simple for getting the Microsoft Launcher. Android users have to simply head here and click the button that says BECOME A TESTER. Users of Arrow Launcher beta will automatically receive the upgrade to Microsoft Launcher.
Users will have to wait a while before they can install Microsoft Edge on Android. The browser is available on iOS via Apple TestFlight and will “soon” be available on Android. You’ll need to be signed up for the Windows 10 Insider Preview program and also have a preview build installed on your PC. Here’s how you can do it.